The talent and passion of your employees is, when properly harnessed, one of the greatest assets and points of competitive advantage that you can have at your fingertips. Even though it may be possible to develop a mental map of the skill levels of all employees (for example in a micro business consisting of 1 to 5 employees), many invaluable tools and processes exist that can help you take things to the next level. Further, when your company grows to 10 or more employees, the lack of an effective skills management model can begin to have an impact, and the company may find itself playing catch-up.
Skills Management, at it’s core has three objectives:
Objective 1: Understanding the skills levels of employees.
The first part of this objective is understanding which employees are skilled in which areas. For any individual employee, it should be possible to know their level of skill in each of the core competencies unique to the business. The ability to quickly assemble a clear view of an individual’s capabilities and shortfalls brings about a number of benefits that service a number of beneficiaries (detailed below).
The second part of this objective is to understand which skills are adequately represented within the organisation. That is, of the competencies that are core to an organization’s business, how well is the organization able to deliver on those competencies?
Objective 2: Developing the skill levels of both the employees and the organization as a whole
Once the skill levels of both the organization and it’s employees are documented and understood, the next step is to identify gap areas for development. This can involve the identification of key individuals who perform certain tasks or roles within the organisation and tailoring a specific development program to address gap areas. The flow on advantages of such targeted development programs can offer immediate and high-value benefits, and these can be life-long.
This objective also involves the identification of key gap areas that the organization as a whole requires to address. Development of these gap areas can be achieved through the roll-out of training programs, creation of new roles, or adjustment of existing roles and responsibilities.
Objective 3: Finding the right staff for the job
Understanding which staff are the right ones for a given task is key in both resource planning, as well as the day-to-day management of the business. Having this knowledge at your fingertips is a powerful proposition; Consistently assigning the right people to the job can improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and in turn – the company’s bottom line.
The beneficiaries of effective skills management
An effective skills management strategy brings benefits to multiple parties:
- The employees themselves gain from identifying and understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, from being able to set personal goals, and to understand the value they bring to the organisation (which in turn can boost morale).
- Management gain from the clear picture of the competency levels of the staff that report to them. Management can tailor training and development programs in line with objective measurements, they can search for, and deploy the right staff for the job, and they can understand who their key staff are in each area and if there are any critical knowledge silos.
- The company itself gains from allowing executives to see areas of strength as well as areas of weakness in the organization. Planning is facilitated, and prioritization of areas for skills development can be achieved.
Whether your organisation is large or small, think about how an effective skills management strategy and program could bring you efficiency, and potentially, competitive advantage. Leverage the benefits whilst identifying weaknesses, and allow this to feed into and drive strategic programs that assist the organisation in playing to its strengths.
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